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'The Lamb's High Banquet We Await', in a Hymnal

'The Lamb's High Banquet We Await', in a Hymnal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1050

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian D XII

Item number: f.70r

Length: 18.2

Width: 11

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

Believed to have been at Hartland Abbey, Devon, in the later middle ages, this hymnal's origins are unknown. It was made during the late Anglo-Saxon period (11th century) and has Old English words written above the Latin verses to translate or explain (glosses) as well as paraphrases of the hymns in Old English and Latin. It has at least three sections, each of which appears to have been copied from hymnals associated with different places (Winchester, Canterbury, plus special verses for monks--monastic canticles). Monks or nuns would have sung the hymns during their daily prayer services.

Some of the hymns in the manuscript are much older than it is. An 'Ambrosian' hymn written in the 6th century or earlier, this one is called 'Ad cenam Agni providi' ('The Lamb's High Banquet We Await'). It was sung at vespers or evening prayer service on Easter Sunday. The refrain has the Old English gloss written in red above the Latin, and the verses have detailed musical notation above them.

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